Scientific Library Wed, 11 May 2022 14:57:08 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Scientific Library 32 32 Wizards, science fiction, 1980s Tue, 10 May 2022 19:04:01 +0000 “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” is definitely the biggest release of the month, and is a huge piece of major multiverse history told in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios

May is feeling unusually calm this year. There are huge mainstream blockbusters hitting theaters at both ends of the month, but not much else. There aren’t any big games coming out, and most streaming services are fairly quiet, with the exception of Netflix and Disney+. May is a great opportunity to decompress after a busy semester, catch up and revel in a surprising amount of 80s nostalgia. Some of the biggest releases include “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness”, “Stranger Things 4” and “Obi-Wan Kenobi”.

Movie titles

“Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” is the twenty-eighth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, not counting the growing number of Disney+ series. The film follows the titular wizard as he explores the multiverse and all its dangers with the help of new Puerto Rican superhero America Chavez and the deeply troubled Scarlet Witch. It’s primarily the long-awaited sequel to 2016’s first cinematic release of Doctor Strange, but also picks up threads of the growing narrative surrounding the multiverse, part of a story that began in “Avengers: Endgame” and then continued in “Wandavision”, “Loki” and “Spider-Man: No Way Home”. Taking advantage of the multiversal story, much of the publicity highlighted the possibility of outrageous appearances by actors and characters from other franchises that I dare not spoil here. Critics have pointed to the influence of director Sam Raimi, who infused his horror sensibilities into the film. All signs point to this being a a standout entry in this endlessly expanding franchise when it hits theaters on May 6th.

“Chip n’ Dale: Rescue Rangers” is a hybrid action-animated sequel to the classic 80s animated series, set in a contemporary world where the animated characters are actors, in the vein of “Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Tick and Tock are stranded, fallen, and no longer the iconic rescue rangers they once were. When animated characters like Flounder from “The Little Mermaid” start disappearing, the two gumshoes have to get together. reuniting to take over the baton again.I’m a little nervous that the film is just a parade of cameos and characters from everything Disney has, but the trailers give me hope that this nostalgia-fueled adventure can have a little more substance. We’ll find out when the film hits Disney+ on May 20.

“Men” is another film distributed by A24, a publishing house with an excellent track record, but more importantly, directed by Alex Garland, a director with a short filmography of deeply disturbing and intriguing films like “Ex Machina” and “ Annihilation”. Even after watching the trailer, I couldn’t quite tell what Garland’s latest is actually about. A woman goes to the countryside after the death of her husband and has a very bad time there, haunted by a man who appears everywhere. Garland’s previous films have been gripping and A24 clearly has a great eye for innovative films, that’s enough to bring me to the cinema when this movie comes out on May 20th.

“Top Gun: Maverick” puts Tom Cruise back on a roll as the titular character in this latest 1980s action movie sequel. Cruise’s Maverick is brought back to train rookies by an old friend, and one of these recruits just happen to be the son of another old friend. Having not seen the original, I don’t quite understand all the excitement this movie is generating in some audiences, but it looks like airplane fans, the military and Tom Cruise are going to be very well fed when this movie will be released in theaters. May 27.

Streaming titles

As someone who’s admittedly a few seasons behind “Stranger Things,” I’m just surprised how old some of these kids are. Dustin and Lucas have grown up! Photo courtesy of Netflix

netflix is bringing back one of its most popular original series, Stranger Things, for its fourth season. The fun, nerdy kids who first battled the monsters of the Upside Down in 2016 now have a much bigger challenge ahead: high school. But also more monsters. The series quickly picked up steam, as it headed towards what is supposed to be a proper Season 5 ending. Each episode of this season reportedly cost Netflix $30 million, as much as some theatrical movies . The trailer features a killer remix of Journey’s “Separate Ways,” new monsters, new settings, and even more ’80s nostalgia to capitalize on when the first half of season four hits the service on May 27.

Netflix also offers a drama based on the historic British operation “Operation Mincemeat” from World War II. Colin Firth, Jason Issacs, Penelope Wilton and a large cast play British agents who disguise a dead man as a British officer and plant fake documents on him, floating him off the coast of Spain to feed misinformation to the German military. The film is getting pretty good reviews and hits the service on May 11.

Disney+ brings one of its most anticipated series to streaming this month with “Obi-Wan Kenobi.” Set between “Star Wars” III and IV, with Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen returning as Obi-Wan and Anakin Skywalker for the first time since 2005. The series is directed by Deborah Chow and also incorporates many of the characters and concepts introduced in the larger world of animated shows and novels like the Sith Inquisitors. Seeing McGregor back in the robes and beard of his iconic character from the “Star Wars” movies is all I need to commit to the show, but I’m also thrilled to see the teased reunion of the master and the apprentice. The first two episodes will air on May 27.

Ewan McGregor is back in robes and a beard to play iconic Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi for the first time in 17 years.

Also coming to Disney+ this month is “Sneakerella,” a musical retelling of the recognizable “Cinderella” story from a candidly delivered angle of contemporary sneaker culture aimed at younger audiences. The film will be available on May 13.

Paramount+ launches its latest “Star Trek” spinoff this month with “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds.” This latest entry in the canon is a prequel to the original series, following the starship enterprise before Captain Kirk’s command, with Captain Pike, Number One and Spock leading the charge, having been (re)introduced in Paramount’s flagship + “Star Trek Discovery”. “Reviews have praised it as feeling authentically like the original Star Trek series, for all the good and bad it brings. The series premiered on May 5.

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Scientists Advance Renewable Hydrogen Production Method Tue, 10 May 2022 18:34:03 +0000 Perovskite materials could have the potential to play an important role in a process of producing hydrogen in a renewable way, according to an analysis by scientists at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

Hydrogen has become an important vector for storing energy generated by renewable resources, replacing fossil fuels used for transport, in the production of ammonia and for other industrial applications. The key to success in using hydrogen as a fuel is being able to meet the Department of Energy’s Hydrogen Energy Earthshot target, a recently announced goal of reducing the cost of clean hydrogen by 80% to $1. per kilogram in a decade.

NREL scientists analyzed an emerging water splitting technology called solar thermochemical hydrogen production (STCH), which may be potentially more energy efficient than producing hydrogen via the commonly used electrolysis method. Electrolysis needs electricity to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. STCH relies on a two-step chemical process in which metal oxides are exposed to temperatures above 1,400 degrees Celsius and then reoxidized with steam at lower temperatures to produce hydrogen.

“It is certainly a very challenging area, and there are still a lot of unanswered research questions, mainly from a materials perspective,” said Zhiwen Ma, senior engineer at NREL and lead author of a new paper, “ System and Technoeconomic Analysis of Solar Thermochemical Hydrogen Production”, which appears in the journal Renewable energy. Its co-authors, all from NREL, are Patrick Davenport and Geneviève Saur.

The paper complements ongoing materials discovery research by examining system-level design and techno-economic analysis to integrate possible materials into a solar fuel platform and supporting the Department of Energy’s HydroGEN program. ‘Energy. Materials discovery in the HydroGEN program involved machine learning, defect calculations and experimental work to develop new perovskite materials. Researchers need to identify perovskites that can withstand the high temperatures required while meeting performance goals.

This work presents part of a portfolio of technical and economic analyzes centered on the hydrogen production sectors, each with its advantages and disadvantages. Electrolysis, for example, is commercially available and the electricity needed can come from photovoltaics (PV). However, the photovoltaic cells used capture only part of the solar spectrum. STCH uses the whole spectrum. Concentrated solar thermal energy allows STCH to create the chemical reaction.

Active research to identify the best materials for the STCH process is critical to the success of this method of hydrogen production, the scientists noted.

“The material hasn’t necessarily been found,” Saur said, “but this analysis is intended to provide some boundaries as to where we think the costs will be if the materials meet some of the targets and expectations envisioned by the research community.

This research is funded by the Department of Energy’s Office of Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies.

Source of the story:

Material provided by DOE/National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

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By Hank Reineke

I admit to having a hard time understanding Corinth’s curious repackaging of three monochrome 1950s sci-fi films. Putting together this triad of films – all previously released as single discs from the label
Wade Williams Collection – seems to make sense on a level. We will discuss later. But for the record this DVD of Drive-In Retro Classics: Triple Sci-Fi Feature brings together such disparate Silver Age favorites as Kurt Neumann Rocket XM (1950), Nathan H. Juran’s The brain of planet Arous (1958) and Robert Clarke The hideous sun demon (1959).

Although he had nothing to do with the production of any of the films listed above, Wade Williams served as a curator of the analog and digital legacies of many 1950s sci-fi and horror titles. Although Williams aspires to be a filmmaker himself, the titles appearing in the “Wade Williams Collection” are exactly that – films from his collection. Williams had cautiously purchased the rights to a set of mostly moribund ’50s sci-fi movies and TV shows from estates, studios, or producers/other owners. This latter category would include films produced by names such as George Pal, Jack Broder, Harry M. Popkin and Richard Rosenfeld.

This decision to sell their interests was an understandable (but ultimately bad) business decision on the part of the original rights holders. But it was the early 1970s and television stations – now the only outlet that continued to provide a trickle of revenue for those old films – were abandoning their creaky old black-and-white libraries for color television programming. Few people in Hollywood could have anticipated the cash flow that the home video revolution would bring in just a few years.

To be fair, Williams was a fan of those old sci-fi movies, not just a lucky speculator. Growing consumer interest in home video products has allowed Williams to capitalize on its cautious purchases. The first VHS videocassettes of the “Wade Williams Collection” were released as early as the late 1970s, primarily by companies such as Nostalgia Merchant and Starlog Video. In 1999, Williams partnered with Image Entertainment, with the latter dressing new DVDs in brightly colored covers. These sleeves partly concealed the fact that the films contained inside were old black and white films. Sci-fi newbies unfamiliar with the history of atomic-age sci-fi movies might have felt cheated by this creative – albeit somewhat deceitful – marketing.

But for those of us in the know, Williams’ outings have been a godsend. We were the old-school sci-fi aficionados, semi-aging folks who first saw the movies at matinee theaters in the 50s or fuzzy late-night TV shows in the 60s. . We no longer had to order goofy prints from old television screenings peddled by underground sellers advertising in the back pages of cult film magazines. When Laserdisc and DVD releases supplanted VHS tapes in presentation quality, Williams’ catalog was also presented in new formats.

It should be noted that Williams has also been, somewhat ungracefully, the target of criticism – often portrayed as a proverbial villain – over the past two decades by some collectors. As the rights holder of so many treasured classic – and not-so-classic – vintage sci-fi films, Williams, just under eighty, has been hesitant in recent years to release the films on Blu-ray. His reasoning for not doing, while disappointing, is solid. Responding to criticism over its catalog management, Williams offered Home Theater Forum contributors online while physical media sales remained strong, “streaming, downloading, Amazon Prime, Netflix and TCM are the remaining outlets for classic films.”

He also noted that restorations were expensive undertakings. Considering public domain issues, the problem of outright smuggling and YouTube copy-paste piracy, there was no longer any chance of breaking even – much less profiting – from such a venture. It was a practical and understandable real-world estimate – but a disappointing answer for those who preferred to store their home video libraries with physical media.

Which brings us, in a roundabout way, to Drive-In Retro Classics: Triple sci-fi functionality. Given the history of the series’ format, the natural progression would have been to see these films released on Blu ray; to revisit them in enhanced remasters with a dollop of special marked bonus materials. But, alas, this is not the case. Instead Drive-In Retro Classics: Triple Sci-Fi Feature features a total of three films, with a total running time of 222 minutes, all squished onto a single disc. There are no special features, no new scans from better stuff, no new bells or whistles of any kind. So buyer beware.

OK, with all that history out of the way, I offer, for the uninitiated at least, a brief overview of the Corinthian set films:

In The brain of planet Arous, Steve Marsh (John Agar), a technician for the United States Atomic Energy Commission, becomes the unwitting host of an alien named Gor. Gor is an evil, levitating cerebellum with half-moon eyes who desires to rule as “Master of the Universe”. He aspires to make all the peoples of the earth his slaves. The alternative is “death by intense radiation”. Land is only one stop in this quest… and he makes the most of the visit. Through his manipulation of his hypnotized subjugate Marsh, Gor unleashes a series of attacks on military bases and warplanes.

Gor convinces the cowering American generals to call a summit with the other six nuclear powers of the earth, demanding that all nations submit to his terms…or else. All seems lost until Vol, a much more sympathetic levitating second brain from Arous, arrives in Indian Springs to offer advice. Vol explains that the only way to stop the renegade Gor is to attack the creature’s only weak point, by hitting Rolando’s brain fissure. But can Marsh’s girlfriend Sally (Joyce Randolph) and George the dog get this important information to Marsh in time?

The hideous sun demon is the tour de force of actor/writer/producer Robert Clarke. Clarke plays Dr. Gilbert McKenna, a “dark scientist” exposed to a type of radiation “much more dangerous than cosmic rays”. This turns out to be an unwelcome turn of events as such exposure triggered a reverse evolution of his DNA, turning him into the Hideous Sun Demon, a bipedal half-human half-reptile. The film is sort of a reversal of the werewolf. Clarke’s transformation is not triggered by the rising of the full moon but by exposure to sunlight. When he’s not wandering around Los Angeles and Santa Monica at night, McKenna sulks, drinks a lot of whiskey, and hangs out at a seedy nightclub where he listens to a buxom blonde tickle the ivories and sing moody jazz numbers. like “Strange Desire”. Maybe Little Orphan Annie wishes the sun came up tomorrow, but that’s bad news for McKenna.

In XM RocketAmerica prepares an elegant spaceship for takeoff. The rocket is to carry a team of scientists – including a thirty-year-old Lloyd Bridges – on a mission to the moon. Unfortunately, a combination of miscalculations and an untimely meteor shower forces the craft off course. Space travelers instead land on Mars where, to their surprise, they discover the ruins of an ancient civilization. They are received in an unwelcoming manner, targeted by a band of stone-throwing Martian Neanderthals. Although they quickly and wisely abandon the Red Planet for a return trip, they encounter yet another problem. Is there enough fuel in the craft’s supply tanks to get them home safely?

Of the three films in this set, only XM Rocket strives for loftier visions and high production values. Theobold Holsopple’s production designs are imaginative and iconic. The special effects work of Don Stewart, IA Block and Jack Rabin is of a similar caliber, especially considering the era in which the film was produced.

To conclude: the best thing I can say about this new DVD release is that it brings those movies back in print, making them more easily accessible to new consumers. No more scouring thrift stores or paying fifty-dollar “collector” prices for the now-rare original single-disc DVDs released two decades ago. But when we learn that the MSRP of the Corinth version is $29.95… well, that price seems a bit steep. But I’m sure the MSRP probably won’t be the actual asking price when the disc hits online retail outlets.

I would be remiss if I did not mention at least one title, The brain of the Planet Arous, Reportedly being readied for Blu-ray release by another home video company known for bringing attention to overlooked films. This future Blu issue, scheduled for release in the summer of 2022, promises a new restoration, audio commentary, booklet and a special bonus documentary. Some may therefore choose a wait-and-see approach before betting on Retro drive-in classics.


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Dr. Mutsuaki Murakami publishes a new book on a new method of producing high quality graphite from polymers. Mon, 09 May 2022 23:31:23 +0000

Japan, May 7, 2022, a book titled “”Research on The Development of Advanced Graphite Materials” has been published. The author is Dr. Mutsuaki Murakami, corporate engineer, and it is a unique book that summarizes the findings of his many years of research and development on graphite materials.

Mr. Murakami was born in 1946. In 1970, he graduated from Ehime University Graduate School of Engineering, Department of Industrial Chemistry. In the same year, he joined Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. (currently Panasonic Corporation) began life as a researcher and technology developer at the Matsushita Research Institute in Tokyo (MRIT). In 1986, he obtained a doctorate in science from the University of Tokyo. In 2001, he left Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. and joined Kaneka Corporation. Since 2005, he has also been a visiting professor at the Center for Extreme Environmental Research and Technology at Osaka University.

He has constantly worked on the work of developing new materials and devices by applying heat, electric current and light to organic materials and achieving their commercialization, as a researcher and engineer in companies. This book summarizes the results of his research on the manufacture of high quality graphite from organic polymers (abbreviated GPP method). It is the greatest achievement of his various R&D efforts. In this book, he describes how ADVANCED GRAPHITE is becoming an important material for today’s industry, as well as the various applications and devices that are currently being made. with graphite.

Graphite is a material that has the potential to innovate the industry in the 21st century as it has extremely excellent physical properties that can be called a super material. For example, the electrical conductivity of a high quality graphite ab surface is 1/25 times that of copper and 1.6 × 107 times that of silicon, the carrier mobility is 750 times that of copper and 8 times that of silicon, the thermal conductivity is 5 times that of copper and 12 times that of silicon, and the heat resistance is 3 times that of copper and twice that of silicon. Therefore, graphite with excellent properties should be used more as a base material in industry. However, until recently it was not possible to produce graphite with such ideal properties on an industrial scale. As a result, various active devices taking advantage of the thermal, electrical, electronic and mechanical properties of graphite had not been realized.

However, in recent years, advances in the GPP method developed by the authors have made it possible to produce high-quality graphites of various shapes on an industrial scale, and many active devices have been born from these graphites. This book presents the invention of this method, the elucidation of the mechanism of graphitization, the progress of manufacturing technology and the development of various applications.

Dr. Murakami remembers his accomplishments very conservatively. “40 years ago, graphite was prepared from heat-treated polymers. It started out as an academic study to develop double bonds by thermally treating a polymer and studying its relationship to electrical conductivity. “As the electrical conductivity of the obtained carbon precursors was significantly different, I wanted to process this at a higher temperature to make graphite.” “At the time, graphite had never been made from polymers, and many thought such a challenge was unnecessary. However, it has been found that some polymers become a very high quality graphite film (GF) when heat treated at a high temperature of 3000°C. This was the first discovery to reveal that high quality graphite could be obtained from polymers. “Many years have passed since this study, but I still vividly remember the excitement I felt when I discovered during X-ray measurements that these films were made of high-quality graphite.”

Furthermore, Dr. Murakami stated the following. “Since then, I have continued to research and develop this technique, and with the cooperation of many people, I have realized various forms of graphite and its applications and explored the true properties of graphite. In fact, it There were many challenges and difficulties in realizing a device using the GF obtained by the GPP method. In this book, I have described the process of overcoming these problems and realizing their device and bringing it to market. to date, no book has been compiled from such a perspective and that is the greatest feature of this book that cannot be found in other books, and that is the main reason why I wrote this book.

The first problem with marketing the GF was that the film was tough and brittle. This book describes the process of converting such a film into a flexible and resistant film (FGF) and the realization of its commercialization. FGF is widely used in mobile phones as a heat diffusion film and has contributed greatly to its widespread use. Today, “heat” is a serious problem in many electronic devices. FGF, which has excellent heat conduction characteristics, shows great power as a heat control material by showing wisdom depending on its application. Currently, GF produced by GPP method has become a big industry, and its estimated global production value has reached about USD 1800 million.

The second challenge was that the thickness of high-quality GFs that could be produced by the GPP method was limited to the range of 10–75 μⅿ. The manufacture of thicker graphite was solved by laminating several polymer films and graphitizing them. Several applications have already been made using blocks made by this process. In addition, technologies related to the production of thin-film GFs of 10 μⅿ or less have been developed, and many technological improvements have led to the development of thin-film GFs in the range of 0.01 μⅿ to 3 μm. The developed GF thin film has excellent electrical and electronic properties similar to the highest quality graphite crystals, opening up entirely new applications. The thickness of the graphite produced by these developments differs by a factor of 5 million. This book describes the progress of these R&Ds and explains the expectations for further development.

Dr. Murakami states that this research and development will be further developed, and various devices that utilize the excellent physical characteristics of graphite ab surface will be made in the future, and graphite will be a material that will revolutionize the industry. He added that he hopes this book gives you insight into the life of a corporate engineer and a whole new world of graphite.

This book was published by Index of Sciences Ltd. and is available on amazon. Please click to purchase this book.

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7 shows like “from” if you like the sci-fi series Mon, 09 May 2022 21:06:00 +0000

After ten thrilling episodes, the Epix series Since concluded its first season. The stars of the series Lostis Harold Perrineau as the sheriff of a mysterious town that traps its inhabitants inside. Catalina Sandino Moreno and Eion Bailey also star as Jim and Tabitha Matthews, a couple whose wandering detour on a road trip takes them to a mysterious place and seem unable to find their way. Upon meeting other residents, they begin to realize that many of the townspeople were once in their position, brought to town and unable to leave.

And then there are the mysterious creatures lurking in the woods. If it wasn’t enough that the town seems to want everyone to stay, there are monsters lurking in the woods surrounding the town that are ready to kill after dark. Oh, and a mysterious boy in white is also lurking around town, and only certain people can see him.

The series has gained a devoted following thanks to its suspenseful storytelling and the mysterious monsters lurking within, and last month it was confirmed that it would be renewed for season two. To fill the gap between seasons, we’ve rounded up six more shows that will scratch that kind of “scary, small town where danger’s behind every corner” itch, here’s our list of other shows to watch if you’d like. Since.


‘The society’

Seacia Pavao/Netflix

The societyThe premise of is either a dream come true or your worst nightmare: you’re in high school and everyone in your town disappears. When a group of teenagers return to their small Connecticut town after an excursion to find everyone who lives there gone and realize they’re cut off from the rest of the world, they must do everything lord of the flies and invent their own rules of survival. But not all survive. Kathryn Newton, Gideon Adlon and Sean Berdy star in this series which is a survival of the fittest.

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‘Stone Castle’

Castle Rock episode 9 recap
Photo: Hulu

Although it only lasted two seasons, Hulu’s stone castle was a unique take on Stephen King’s horror universe. The Lizzy Caplan-led series (at least in season 2) was set in the fictional town of Castle Rock, a place where many King stories took place, and featured several different characters with intertwining stories, including some have already been introduced. in King’s previous novels. The series also featured an all-star cast which included actors André Holland, Melanie Lynskey, Bill Skarsgård, Jane Levy, Sissy Spacek, Paul Sparks and Barkhad Abdi.

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“Hemlock Grove”


One of Netflix’s first original series, Hemlock Grove, which was produced by horror author Eli Roth and bBased on Brian McGreevy’s book, was a solid mystery series that focused on chilling murders in a small Pennsylvania town. From 2013 to 2015, the show starred Bill Skarsgard and Landon Liboiron as two young town men who come from very different backgrounds (Skarsgard played wealthy Roman Godfrey, while Liboiron played boyish Peter Rumancek who was also a werewolf) to try and solve the murders of two girls who were found dead. The supernatural show also has an amazing supporting cast which includes Famke Janssen, Lili Taylor, and Dougray Scott.

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Photo: AppleTV+

The premise of Invasion is to examine how an alien invasion of Earth would affect the lives of several seemingly normal citizens, including Sheriff Jim Bell Tyson (Sam Neill), Aneesha Malik (Golshifteh Farahani), and Hinata Murai (Rinko Kikuchi), who live in various towns across the globe, but whose lives are immediately altered when aliens land. The Apple TV+ series, which premiered in 2021, has been shot in locations around the world and has been renewed for a season 2, which is yet to be released.

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‘Twin Peaks’


There’s perhaps no weirder fictional TV town than Twin Peaks, Washington, the setting of the 1990 series. twin peaks (and it’s the 2017 revival on Showtime), created by David Lynch. The series, about FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle McLachlan), who shows up in the bizarre town of Twin Peaks to investigate the murder of Laura Palmer, is a surreal horror soap opera I watched during its initial release and one that could still be haunted by it 32 years later.

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“Stranger Things”

Picture: Netflix

While stranger things first seemed like a riff on 80s movies like HEY and The Goonies, it evolved into a much more complex and sinister story involving supernatural monsters, Russian insurgents, and government experiments gone wrong. Starring Noah Schnapp, Finn Wolfhard, Gaten Matarazzo, Sadie Sink, Caleb McLaughlin, David Harbor and Winona Ryder, the series about the mysterious events inside (and in the upside-down version of) Hawkins, Indiana, is on the its fourth season is set to air this month, and a fifth and final season has also been confirmed.

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LOST, Naveen Andrews, Ian Somerhalder, Evangeline Lilly, Dominic Monaghan, (Season 1), 2004-2010.  pH
©ABC/Courtesy Everett Collectio

You can’t make a list like this without including the grandfather of weird mystery shows, LOST. After crash-landing on a mysterious island, the survivors discover they’re not alone – and it’s not just other people, there are polar bears, smoke monsters and more. Since not content to base its mysterious one-word title on LOSTit also includes Harold Perrineau, and frequents LOST director Jack Bender behind the scenes.


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Electrochemical method of carbon capture Sun, 08 May 2022 13:30:59 +0000

A good method of sucking carbon from atmospheric carbon dioxide (which is necessary to avoid further global warming), apart from tree growth, is “direct air capture”, which is being tested in some places .

In this method, the air passes through chemicals that absorb carbon dioxide. But the challenge arises when you want to separate the carbon dioxide from these chemicals – so that the chemicals can be reused – because that would require intense heat of almost 800 degrees C. This rubs the economy of the process in the wrong sense.

Now Professor Bryan McCloskey of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California has come up with a potentially cheaper approach. His method uses electrochemistry to capture carbon dioxide.

Electrochemistry generally involves atoms donating or receiving electrons; this science is the basis of all batteries and fuel cells. Professor McCloskey’s process reacts carbon dioxide with hydroxide ions to form bicarbonates. It then uses electrochemical methods to separate the carbon dioxide and hydroxide ions, so the gas can be stored and the hydroxide reused.

As Professor McCloskey explains the process, you bubble air through an absorber containing a solution of sodium hydroxide. This will cause the formation of sodium bicarbonate. Bicarbonate is introduced into a special electrochemical cell, where the reaction regenerates sodium hydroxide.

In the electrochemical cell, two reactions occur at each of its electrodes. At an electrode, the bicarbonate is oxidized to form a pressurized stream of carbon dioxide, which can be sequestered. At the other electrode, hydrogen gas is generated, which consumes protons to regenerate the alkaline solution. “Hydrogen production is definitely a bonus of our alkaline regeneration system,” McCloskey says. Thus, the process produces a stream of concentrated carbon dioxide and another stream of hydrogen.

McCloskey estimates it would be possible to capture carbon dioxide for $100 a ton, compared to other methods that cost six times as much.

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He warns that while the science is decided, the systems will have to be designed for perfection. He points out that the whole system involves innovations in three points.

The first is the stability of the electrochemical cell. The electrodes must be sturdy. The cell must also be energy efficient.

The second area of ​​innovation is the membrane that separates the two electrodes from each other. Otherwise, hydrogen and carbon dioxide would mix; they are more valuable as pure flows, says McCloskey. In the prototype, the researcher used a special membrane, called Nafion, often used in fuel cells but expensive. Research is ongoing to develop a cost effective membrane.

The third innovation concerns the development of a suitable catalyst for the bicarbonate-carbon dioxide reaction. The catalyst would enhance the reaction.

McCloskey is “very confident” that these aspects will be corrected over time, in particular thanks to the expertise available at the Berkeley Lab. “We have experts in all of these different areas, such as membrane technology, molecular simulation and modeling, and electrocatalysis,” notes McCloskey.

Published on

May 08, 2022

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Best New Science Fiction Books in May 2022 Sat, 07 May 2022 10:00:00 +0000

Idris, who has spent decades fleeing the horrors of his past, finds himself pushed back to the frontlines. As an intermediary, he could be one of the few to turn the tide of the war. Along with a handful of allies, he searches for a weapon that could repel the Architects and save the galaxy. But to do so, he must return to the nightmarish unspace, where his spirit was shattered and remade.

What Idris discovers there will change everything.

Under Good Stars by Ren Hutchings

Type: Novel
Editor: Solaris
Release date: May 10

Den of Geek says: Ren Hutchings earned comparisons to Becky Chambers, Alex White and SK Dunstall for his novel. Time-traveling spaceships and alien warfare bring a classic twist to a modern space opera.

Editor’s Summary: Fleeing the final days of the multi-generational war against the alien Felen, smuggler Jereth Keeven’s freighter, the Jonah crashes into a strange rift in deep space, with little chance of rescue – until they encounter the research vessel Galleonwhich claims to be 152 years in the future.

the GalleonUma Ozakka’s chief engineer has always been fascinated by the past, especially the story of the Fortunate Five, who ended the war against the Felen. When the Galleon rescues a dilapidated junk freighter, Ozakka is shocked to recognize the Five’s legendary ship and the Five’s famous leader, Eldric Leesongronski, among the crew.

But nothing else on Leesongronski and his teammates appears to match the historic record. With their ships running out of power in the rift, more than the lives of both crews may be at stake…

Roger Levy's Rig

Roger Levy’s Rig

Type: Novel
Editor: Titan Books
Release date: May 8

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Distributed deep learning method without sharing sensitive data Sat, 07 May 2022 07:31:24 +0000

Data sharing is one of the major challenges of machine learning models. The advent of techniques such as federated learning, differential privacy, and split learning have solved data silos, privacy, and regulatory issues in a big way.

In this article, we’ll look at split learning, a new technique developed at the MIT Media Lab that allows machine learning models to be trained without sharing raw data. The technique solves challenges like data silos, data sharing, etc.

Most importantly, Split Neural Networks (SplitNN) does not share raw data or model details with collaborating institutions. Configurations meet the practical parameters of entities holding different modalities of patient data; centralized and local health entities collaborating on multiple tasks; and learning without sharing labels, the article, Split learning for health: Distributed deep learning without sharing raw patient data, showed this.

The researchers compared the performance and resource efficiency tradeoffs of split learning and other methods like federated learning and large-batch synchronous stochastic gradient descent. The results showed the

How Split Learning Works

SplitNN is a distributed and private deep learning technique for training deep neural networks on multiple data sources without the need to directly share labeled raw data. SplitNN solves the problem of training a model on multiple data entities.

The model is divided into several split-training sections, each trained on a different client. For example, the data being trained may reside on a supercomputing resource or on multiple clients participating in the collaborative training. However, none of the clients forming the model can “see” each other’s data.

Techniques are applied on the data, which encode the data in a different space before sending it to train the model. Since the model is split into several sections and each of these sections is trained on a different client, the network training is deferred by transferring the weights from the last layer of each section to the adjacent (or next) section. Thus, only the weights of the last layer (also called the cut layer) of each section are sent to the next client, and no raw data is shared between clients.

As shown in the figure above, the training layer of SplitNN is marked by the green line, representing the cut layer. The upper part of the model is trained on the server and the lower part of the model is trained on multiple clients.

These steps continue until the distributed shared learning network is trained without looking at each other’s raw data.

For example, a split learning setup allows local hospitals with smaller individual data sets to collaborate and build machine learning models that deliver superior healthcare diagnostics without sharing raw data.

SplitNN Configurations

Split learning: distributed deep learning method without sharing sensitive data

(Source: arXiv)

Simple Vanilla Split Learning

This is the simplest SplitNN configuration, as shown in Figure (a). For example, in this framework, each customer (for example, a radiology center) forms a partial model down to a specific layer called the “cutting layer”. Then, the outputs at the cut layers are sent to a server which completes the rest of the training without seeing the raw data (example: radiology images) from the clients.

This completes a forward propagation cycle without sharing any raw data. Gradients are now propagated back to the server from its last layer to the cut layer. Finally, the gradients at the cut layers are sent back to the radiology customer centers.

The rest of the backpropagation is now complete in the radiology customer centers. This process continues until the SplitNN is trained without looking at the raw data of the other.

Label-free split learning

As shown in the image above (Figure (b)), the network is wrapped around the server network edge layers and the output is fed back to the client entities. While the server keeps most of its layers, the clients generate the gradients from the final layers. This is then used for backpropagation without sharing the corresponding tags.

For example, tags contain very sensitive information such as patient status. The configuration is ideal for distributed deep learning.

Split learning for vertically partitioned data

This type of setup allows multiple institutions holding different modalities of patient data to learn distributed models without revealing or sharing the data. As shown in the image above (figure c), the configuration of SplitNN is suitable for multi-modal multi-institutional collaboration.

For example, radiology centers want to collaborate with pathology testing centers and a server for disease diagnosis. Therefore, radiology centers holding imaging data modalities form a partial model down to the cutting layer. Similarly, pathology test centers with patient test results form a partial model down to its own cut layer.

Once done, the cut layer level outputs from these two centers are then concatenated and sent to the disease diagnosis server which forms the rest of the model. These steps are repeated to train the distributed deep learning model without sharing each other’s raw data.


Simple distributed deep learning setups cannot handle various practical configurations of collaboration between healthcare entities. This is where SplitNN comes in. Additionally, SplitNN is versatile, allowing many plug-and-play configurations depending on the application. SplitNN is also scalable for large scale settings. Furthermore, the limits of resource efficiency can be pushed further in distributed deep learning by combining SplitNN with neural network compression methods for seamless distributed learning at the edge.

This article is written by a member of the AIM Leaders Council. AIM Leaders Council is an invitation-only forum of senior executives from the data science and analytics industry. To check if you are eligible for membership, please complete the form here.

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BHU researchers find method to remove metal from water Fri, 06 May 2022 10:00:56 +0000 Researchers from the School of Biochemical Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology (Banaras Hindu University) have found success in finding a simple way to remove harmful copper, nickel and zinc ions from the contaminated water.

The researchers prepared the mold in the study using Ganga soil from Varanasi ghat and bentonite clay.

The mold has been tested for its ability to adsorb copper, nickel and zinc ions. The adsorption process showed that equilibrium was reached within half an hour of the process.

The research is published in the International Journal of Environmental Science and Technology, published by Springer. The impact factor for this review is 3.083.

Giving background on this research, Assistant Professor Dr. Vishal Mishra, Principal Investigator of the School of Biochemical Engineering and his PhD student Jyoti Singh said that bentonite is a clay mineral from the smectite group found in nature.

It has a large active surface, specific moisturizing properties and strong cation exchange capacities. It is inexpensive, widely available, and effective against a wide range of impurities and metal ions. Because of these properties, bentonite clay is an excellent choice for the removal of heavy metal ions from bulk solutions. One of its interesting properties is the ability of bentonite to adsorb cations.

He further explained that adsorption in soil occurs when components in solution adsorb on the surface of soil particles. This process is influenced by the inorganic and organic components of the soil surface as well as the associated environmental conditions.

Soil particles can include a wide variety of compounds, including soil components, plant nutrients, surfactants, pesticides, and environmental pollutants found in soil solutions.

Soil is amphoteric, with a broad spectrum of negative and positive charges and magnitudes. Clay retains a stable negative charge due to ion substitution or site vacancies in crystalline clay minerals and structural defects due to non-crystalline hydrated oxides of silica, iron and aluminum.

Dr. Vishal Mishra informed that Varanasi has a humid subtropical climate with significant temperature difference between summer and winter. The average annual rainfall in the basin varies from 39 to 200 cm, with an average of 110 cm. Eighty percent of the rainfall occurs during the monsoon season, which lasts from June to October.

Due to the large temporal variation in precipitation throughout the year, the flow characteristics of the river vary considerably. Concentrations of all heavy metals (Cd, Cr, Cu, Ni and Pb) increased at downstream sampling stations.

The main sources of these elements are emissions from nearby urban and industrial areas. Vehicle emissions are the main source of urban particles. Re-suspension of particles deposited on the ground can provide further evidence of heavy metal loading.

He said heavy metals have high atomic numbers, atomic weights and atomic densities and are poisonous if consumed in large amounts.

Although heavy metal poisoning is generally treatable, prolonged exposure can lead to life-threatening and debilitating illnesses.

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New method to measure chemical kinetics Thu, 05 May 2022 16:07:00 +0000

Led by the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), scientists have developed a new technique to quantify the chemical kinetics by imaging the development of a reaction at a liquid-liquid interface that has been fixed in a microjet laminar flow liquid.

A flat jet showing blue luminescence due to the oxidation of Luminol. The photograph shows the sheets formed by the crossing of two liquid microjets, flowing from left to right, and shows that the first sheet is characterized by a laminar flow. As a result, a liquid-liquid interface is formed which can be used to measure chemical kinetics. Image credit: A. Osterwalder (Federal Polytechnic School of Lausanne).

This technique appears to be perfect for sub-millisecond time scale dynamics studies, which is very difficult to do with current applications.

This is a new application of so-called flat water jets. We prepare a controlled interface between two aqueous solutions and use it to measure chemical kinetics.

Andreas Osterwalder, Faculty of Basic Sciences, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne

It is possible for chemists to design a controllable smooth (and in some cases flat) surface of a liquid that could be used for surface scattering or spectroscopy studies using free-flowing liquid microjets. The free flow of liquid present in air or vacuum allows unhindered optical access to gas-liquid and liquid-vacuum interfaces.

Some major applications of microjets include evaporation dynamics, attosecond pulse generation, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, and gas-liquid chemistry. A famous implementation is a single cylindrical jet, created by forcing a liquid out through a nozzle measuring 10–50 μm in diameter and under a pressure of a few bars, resulting in a laminar jet with a flow velocity of several tens of meters per second.

Lately, these microjets have gained enormous interest in vacuum applications, where the jets tend to move freely and remain liquid for a few millimeters before breaking up into droplets and being subjected to freezing.

Many experiments require a flat surface that prevents unwanted averaging over the angle-dependent surface effects.

Andreas Osterwalder, Faculty of Basic Sciences, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne

Therefore, due to this need, researchers have proposed various arrangements of laminar flow planar surfaces, thereby generating so-called liquid flat jets.

Liquid leaves

A general form of such an arrangement is to protrude two cylindrical jets of a liquid. The resulting flat jet is known as a chain of sheet-like structures of the flowing liquid. “Sheets” are sheets that are only a few microns thick, and each has been bound by a relatively thick fluid rim and stabilized by fluid inertia and surface tension.

At the point where the two cylindrical jets tend to intersect, the solutions are forced outward, while moving in a full forward direction. However, the surface tension of flowing solutions counteracts this, so that eventually the outer boundaries tend to coalesce to form the so-called “sheet” shape.

These free-flowing impinging jets produce a sheet structure, where we hypothesized that due to the absence of turbulence, the fluids flow next to each other in the first sheet, forming an interface between two liquids.

Andreas Osterwalder, Faculty of Basic Sciences, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne

Osterwalder added:We thought this would make it a great tool for accessing the liquid-liquid interface of even miscible fluids – fluids that mix homogeneously, and even two identical solvent samples..”

The flat jet arrangement was tested by the researchers using it to study the kinetics of the chemiluminescent reaction of luminol oxidation. This is known as the glow-in-the-dark reaction which discharges blue light when the organic compound luminol has been oxidized. The reaction is famous among criminal investigators who trace blood, but it is also widely used in biological research tests.

Using the luminol reaction, the scientists verified that the flat jet is indeed made up of a liquid-liquid interface, instead of solutions mixed by turbulent processes. In addition, they illustrate a method of chemical kinetic studies under controlled conditions.

The advantage of the flat jet technique is that it removes the requirement for rapid mixing of solutions and takes advantage of fluid jets which are undisturbed by friction on the vessel walls.

We believe this is a promising approach for measuring chemical kinetics at the sub-millisecond scale, a range very difficult to achieve with existing technologies, and for studying fundamental dynamics at liquid-liquid interfaces.“said Osterwalder.

The study was financially supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation, the German Research Foundation (DFG), EPFL-Max Planck Center for Molecular Nanosciences and Technology

Journal reference:

Schewe, HC, et al. (2022) Imaging chemical kinetics at the water-water interface in a free-flowing liquid flat jet. Journal of the American Chemical Society.


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